Erik's Reviews > The Magic Kingdom of Landover: Volume 1

The Magic Kingdom of Landover by Terry Brooks
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May 30, 11

bookshelves: scififantasy, detailed-review

An altogether mediocre book, which I purchased only because it came packaged 3-books-in-1

The premise is great - a jaded lawyer, unable to overcome his sorrow over his late wife's untimely death, comes across an ad selling a magical kingdom for ONE MILLION DOLLARS (fufufufu). Skeptical, he nevertheless decides he has nothing else to lose. He purchases it and finds that, indeed, there is a magical kingdom called Landover, full of unicorns and lions and tigers and bears oh my! Unfortunately for Ben Holiday (said jaded lawyer and protagonist), the kingdom he has inherited is quite run down and quite in need of his help. Ensue typical fantasy adventure.

It's hard to put my finger quite on why this book isn't very good, but for the sake of posterity, I am going to do my darndest!

Could it be the stereotypical characters, such as...
The bumbling court wizard whose magic never seems to work the way its intended (but will work AT A CRUCIAL MOMENT?! OMG DIDNT SEE THAT ONE COMING LOLOLOLO)
The protectors of Ben! two strong silent stoic kobolds, whose sole description seems to be that they have very sharp and shiny teeth
The evil witch who is tricksy and cares only about herself
The manipulative nobles who are tricksy and care only about themselves
The tree dryad/naied who is exceedingly lovely and beautiful and instantly falls in love with Ben upon first sight and constantly tells him that they are fated to be together (queue eye rolling)
The evil demon villain Mark who utters 0 words

Or could it be the writing, which is decent enough, except that it is constantly interrupted with long "tell" sections where Ben needs to tell us his doubts and his thoughts. Like two or three times a chapter, there'll be this section that's like, "Ben suddenly realized wow it was all real. And he might die. And he missed his wife. But he was going to be strong. Yes, he was going to take his lawyer/trial experience and show these fantasized fools whos who and whats up."

Or could it be the overly simplified conflicts - there's never really any doubt which way Ben is going to choose or any of the other characters. There's always the good-but-hard choice and the easy-but-apathetic choice. Drama, good drama that is, just doesn't work that way. At least I don't think so.

Or could it be the empty world that he has created? Landover feels very... well... boring. It really does. As a pure creation, it's quite generic. I never got a good sense of politics, of the population, of the types of beasts.

And I could go on, but at that point, I'd just be soapboxin' it. MK for Sale is not a bad book. It's just kinda boring. It feels like a totally generic fantasy. Unfortunately, I'm stuck with the next 2 books of this combined volume AND the next volume, so I suppose we'll have to see if it improves.
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